Bianca Del Rio has become the breakout star of this season’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race” on LOGO. Since taking New York by storm when she arrived from New Orleans almost a decade ago, “Hurricane Bianca” takes no prisoners with her razor sharp wit and expert costuming. Bianca discussed the “Drag Race” experience, her upcoming appearance at Feather’s in River Edge, and what she thinks the difference is between New Jersey and New York City boys.
You’re a virtual legend in the New York City scene, and now you’ve hit the mainstream on “RuPaul’s Drag Race”. Is it a huge shift in perspective for you to go from local celebrity to nationally loved?
Totally! For me in general, I started years ago when there wasn’t any Twitter or Facebook or any of that madness. I think just the interest “in general” fascinates me because everyone wants to know what you are doing, as well as everyone having an opinion good or bad.
I’m glad though, it happened at 38 years of age rather than say, 23, because I know my boundaries now. I find it totally overwhelming really. During filming they ask if you are prepared, and once it starts the whole process is really overwhelming, but definitely in a good way. You have to be on your toes and ready to roll with the punches.
Some people would say that your humor and politically incorrect humor is definitely not safe, to say the least. What are your thoughts?
You know, that has always been my sense of humor. It’s funny, If I didn’t wear a wig I’m called a hateful queen, and when I do wear a wig I’m called hysterical; it’s really the packaging to get away with murder. I take myself seriously from a business perspective, as far as showing up on time, delivering, what have you. As far as thinking that I’m a beauty or that I’m a girl, no, definitely not the same thing. I’m not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and I’m ok with that. I always say, consider where you are, it’s Monday night at 2am and you’re in a bar. You’re questioning me, a man in a wig? Think about yourself, what are you doing?
I also know that I am really the biggest joke there is. By no means do I think I’m better than, or curing cancer, or paving the way for anyone. It’s comedy, it is what it is. It’s either your type of comedy or not. I’m ok with that.
This Saturday, April 26th, you’re appearing at Feathers in River Edge, New Jersey. Is this your first time in the Garden State or at Feather’s?
I was there a while back, my friend, New York City DJ Steve Sidewalk got me a job there, he’s one of the first people I met in New York City nine years ago. It will be interesting going back on the “Drag Race” level now to see how the reaction is.
What do you think the differences are between New York City boys and boys from Jersey?
I have to tell you this, from traveling all over the place, there is absolutely no difference. It’s the same grouping of people everywhere. There are typical jokes everywhere, you have every type. They may call themselves something different, but the comedy is still there. I’m the type of person that could find something funny at a funeral. Really, the only difference between New York City boys and New Jersey boys is bus fare.
Have you gotten a chance to check out any other places in New Jersey?
You know, I haven’t. I think Feathers is the only place I’ve worked in New Jersey. Since I’ve been doing drag, I really only have been in New York, New Orleans and some places in Florida. That’s what so great about the exposure now, I get to visit places that I may not have before – since there’s interest now.
I’ve talked to every girl that has left “Drag Race” this year and they all want to release music following their appearances on the show. You have recently released a track with Sherry Vine titled “Hot Mess”. Think you may be releasing a single of your own?
Hell no! You don’t want to hear me singing anything in Bea Arthur’s key! Sherry is genius, and it was an amazing opportunity, and if I can help a bitch out – why not? I’m working on a show the Lady Bunny and I are going to do together as well. As far as putting an album out, it’s not my cup of tea really.
One of the biggest complaints on reality television as a whole is editing. Do you think you have been portrayed accurately on “Drag Race” in terms of the editing?
This is such a huge topic, so here’s my general and sincere response. It’s a competition and a reality show as well, and I signed up for it. I put myself in this position to begin with. As a 38 year old man who wears a wig for a living I take full responsibility for what I said and did, knowing it was in the hands of people who were creating a TV show. If you say something negative about someone in a jesting way and it did not come across that way, than maybe you shouldn’t tell jokes. Other than that, I stand by what I said and what I did. I was being myself the entire time; from the first day after the first hour, you forget the cameras are there, even though there are ten of them. I wasn’t in control of the challenge, what was behind the curtain, what Michelle Visage and what Ru was going to say, any of it. Maybe some things I said where heightened, and maybe some things were edited out, but I’m not going to look back on it now and want [any] pity.
I think “Drag Race” is a fun and important show, but if you’re looking for a literal show, go check out “Meet The Press.” The editors cannot show all 12 hours that we film. So if you said something snarky about someone, of course they’re going to show it. A show with all of us loving each other and getting along would be very lame. It is what it is.
I’m a bitch on stage, but not in real life. Be a grown up and say that you signed up for it, and don’t be a Bitter Betty about it. I can say what I say and people may not like it. The days are long, and I find that some of the things people are questioning are about things that may have happened at 8am that morning. Maybe you’re tired, maybe you’re Darienne [Lake] thinking of a sandwich. Whatever…. But maybe you didn’t respond in the best of ways. When you’re in that bubble it’s easy to think it may not be used, but if it ends up on the show, you said it.